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EXPLAINED: How foreign nationals can apply for an Italian ID card

Italian bureaucracy is notoriously tricky to navigate, but getting your ID card can be fairly straightforward. Here are seven things you should know before applying.

EXPLAINED: How foreign nationals can apply for an Italian ID card
Applying for an Italian ID card can be tricky when you don’t know the ins and outs of the process. Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash.

Applying for the issuance (or renewal) of an Italian ID card is generally a trouble-free process for native residents. But, as ever, things can be a little bit more complicated for foreign nationals, and especially non-EU ones.

The typically muddy waters of Italian bureaucracy coupled with the overall dearth of information available in English can  make it fairly hard for foreign nationals to understand much about how to apply for an Italian carta d’identità (ID card). 

In the hope of providing some clarity, here are seven things that you should know prior to applying.

What is an Italian ID card and what are its uses? 

The Italian ID card, officially referred to as Electronic Identity Card (CIE), is an identity document issued by the Italian Ministry of the Interior and produced by the Italian Printing Works and State Mint. Thanks to an advanced security system, the document is used to verify the holder’s identity during administrative procedures held in public offices and in any other circumstance requiring identity verification.

The card also gives access to a large number of online public administration services. A full list of institutions providing such online services can be found here.

Note that only Italian citizens are able to use their ID cards for expatriation purposes (espatrio), that is to travel abroad. For foreign nationals, the card serves exclusively as an identification document (and as an ‘electronic key’ to access the above-mentioned administrative services).

Who is entitled to receive an Italian ID card?

Besides Italian citizens, all foreign nationals registered as Italian residents in the Civil Registry (Anagrafe) and – in the case of non-EU nationals – in possession of a valid residence permit (permesso di soggiorno), have the right to apply for a national ID card. 

How can I apply?

The first step is to book an appointment with your local city hall (municipio). Most city halls give residents the possibility to make an online booking through a portal available at this link.

If your town hall doesn’t provide such services, you will have to contact their front desk by phone or via email. 

READ ALSO: Visas and residency permits: How to move to Italy (and stay here)

Once your booking is confirmed, you’ll be notified of the list of documents necessary to process your application. It nearly goes without saying, you will be asked to produce such documents during your scheduled appointment. 

What items do I need to produce?

As far as applying for an Italian ID card goes, this is the most important bit. Without producing the required documents and completing all of the relevant administrative steps, your application will be unsuccessful.

Here’s what you’ll need to do: 

  • Produce a passport-size photo (35mm in width, 45mm in height) in paper or electronic format (USB drive). Further information regarding the required photo format is available here.
  • Produce a valid identity document issued by your home country and, if you’re a non-EU national, a valid residence permit (permesso di soggiorno).
  • Produce your Italian tax code (codice fiscale).
  • Verify with the clerk that the personal data stored by the Civil Registry (Anagrafe) are correct.
  • Indicate your preferred method of collection (home delivery or collection from the town hall).
  • Provide personal contact details to receive updates about the ID card delivery.
  • Have your fingerprints scanned. Further details on fingerprint acquisition procedures are available here.
  • Sign the summary form.

Upon signing the summary form, you will be given the first four figures of the card’s PIN number. You will find the final four figures enclosed in the envelope containing the ID card itself.

READ ALSO: Italian student visa: Five things you need to know about applying 

How long will it take for the ID card to be delivered?

Once the application has been completed, the Italian Printing Works and State Mint will send the document to the specified address within 6 working days. As previously mentioned, both home address delivery and personal collection are available.

If you previously chose to collect the document at your local town hall, a delegated person will be able to do so on your behalf so long as the personal details of such a person were provided during your appointment at the municipio

Please keep in mind that, alongside your national ID card, you will receive the final four figures of your PIN number. The latter is required to access all online services associated with the card.

How much will the application cost?

In order to be issued an Italian ID card, you will have to pay a fee of 16,79 euros plus administrative and secretarial fees. Please note that the monetary value of the latter fees is established by your municipality of residence. As a result, the overall price might vary across the country. 

What’s the card’s validity period?

The Italian ID card’s validity period depends on the owner’s age as follows:

  • Three years for minors up to the age of three
  • Five years for minors aged between three and 18
  • 10 years for people over the age of 18

Please keep in mind that, for non-EU nationals, the card’s expiry date is the same as that of their residence permit

Please note that The Local cannot advise on specific cases. For more information about how the rules may apply to you, please visit the interior ministry’s website.

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